Traveling Without Breaking Your Bank Account

Today’s post is a guest post by Tiffany Price. Who doesn’t love to travel around the world taking photos? Tiffany gives some good suggestions on how to travel without breaking the bank.

Traveling Without Breaking Your Bank Account

When it was published in 1957, Europe On $5 A Day was a sensation, and opened travel doors to countless people. These days, you can’t even do Newark, NJ on $5 a day, and the internet makes travel to almost anywhere on earth as easy as point, click, pay. That last bit, the payment, is where reality often hits. With a little planning, however, you can travel without breaking your bank account.

For most of us, the three biggest travel expenses are transportation, lodging, and food. Let’s take a look at each of these and see some ways you can save.

Aurorus Reflectus Colosseo

Transportation

Consider a trip closer to home. If you’re driving your own car, your cost is basically gas and wear-and-tear. If your trip is only 5 or 6 hours away, you can even skip lodging costs en route.

Consider a travel rewards card or program. The best airline credit cards award frequent flier miles for signing up and meeting spending thresholds. The rewards on these are typically one round trip airline ticket. If you can find a deal, and if it works in to your personal budget, you can fly round trip for the cost of taxes and fees only.

Shop around. Travel websites, such as Expedia and Orbitz, as well as individual airline sites that might not be featured on the travel clearinghouses (Southwest, JetBlue, Virgin America) should all be checked against one another to find the best deal. Don’t assume a travel site has the best deals!

Lodging

Consider a travel rewards card or program. Yes, I already mentioned that, but in many cases the points can also be used for lodging as well. Hotel loyalty programs offer free nights, discounts, and other perks to make your travel dollar stretch farther. Consider the Sheraton in Petaluma, CA. Through the SPG rewards program, you could either pay $139 a night for a room, 7,000 reward points for a room, or $45 and 2,800 points. This could be an easy way to cut lodging expenses by as much as 2/3.

Change your travel dates. At big tourist destinations, weekend rates are often much higher, and “seasonal” rates are higher still. In business areas, the weekdays get you while weekends are cheaper. See if you can fit your travel in with a time the hotels aren’t charging the proverbial arm and leg, and your savings could be in the neighborhood of 50% or more.

Join a travel club. Many hotels offer discounts to AAA members. It is usually only 10% or so, but if you have few other options, 10% is, after all, 10%.

Consider staying away from the city center. A search for rooms in midtown Manhattan for a weekend trip in March showed a price of around $200, while rooms across the river in Jersey City (at similar hotel brands) went for half that. If the time and travel costs are minimal for your trip, you can cut your lodging costs almost in half.

Food

Most hotels at a certain level offer excellent breakfasts as part of the room rate. Some even offer mid-week dinner or “snack” specials. If you’re paying for the room anyway, this is one, possibly two meals that are free. Factor this idea into your costing.

Consider a residence hotel. These facilities have full (albeit small) kitchens. Some will even do grocery shopping for you. There’s no question eating in is much cheaper than eating out, and this is a great way to do it. You might decide cooking all your meals isn’t much of a vacation, but this tip can cut your food budget by up to two-thirds.

Ultimately, where you’re headed and the experience you want to have are going to drive a lot of your decisions. The family trip to Fargo, ND is clearly going to cost less than the trip to London, no matter how you slice it. Additionally, your time is worth something as well. I have a friend who spends literally hours online clamoring for savings at every turn. He finds good deals, but if you figure out how much time he spent doing it, perhaps his savings weren’t that spectacular.

Tiffany Price is a social media advocate at CreditDonkey. She says, be creative, talk to friends for ideas, shop around, and you can find plenty of easy ways to enjoy some time off without breaking the bank.

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Author: Mark

Mark is a fine art wedding and portrait photographer from Northern California. He has been passionate about photography since childhood and started his studio 12 years ago to bring a fresh style of photography to the wedding and portrait world.

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1 Comment

  1. I just wanted to say thanks again for submitting this to the BT Blog Carnival. This article has been included in the 11th BT Blog Carnival which was published today. Informative article, except I would also mention that using services like Couchsurfing.org can seriously cut down on lodging experiences. It’s a great community, too. :)

    Anyway, if you could retweet, stumble, or “Like” this edition of the blog carnival, I would really appreciate it. :) It would also help people discover your article, too!

    Thanks again :)

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  1. Byteful Travel Blog Carnival #11 – 2012 March | Byteful Travel - [...] Torres presents: Traveling Without Breaking Your Bank Account posted at Digital Photo Buzz, saying, “There are plenty of ways…

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